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  • #31
    I haven't seen anyone mention wood. Is that off the table? Wood can put out a crazy amount of heat, and the radiation really helps to warm the machines up. But yes, insulation is the answer. Dad and I insulated an addition to the shop that was never before insulated, wow what a difference. We can keep it at an ok temperature just with a fan pulling the warmer air from the rest of the shop through a doorway.
    21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
    1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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    • #32
      I heat my shop with wood, the only alternatives are propane, home heating oil or electric. All pretty expensive.

      I am in beetle kill country so dead, prime firewood is free for the taking. Gotta have saws, splitter, truck or trailer, somewhere to stack, cover etc..
      I burn about 4 cords a year in the shop.
      But it is messy, ash falls out when you open the door or shovel it out, floats around the shop. And even smoke when you open the door if the wood isn't properly dried or you forget to open the damper.

      I am constantly dusting off, wiping, blowing and sweeping.
      About every 4 years I roll everything out of the shop but the largest pieces of machinery and pressure wash the shop out. Ceiling, walls, light fixtures, floor, etc.. I have white ribbed siding so it is easy to clean. The before and after is shocking.

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      • #33
        Wood can be an option. But insulation is still a good first step or the stove would need to be large and fed like a firebox of an old locomotive fighting for a cross country record speed.

        Cijuanni, what sort of stove do you have? I've been around a few wood stoves over the years. More than half of them in houses. Nothing like the ash issue you're describing. A good airtight design, good attention to the flue components and they can be as clean as many other system choices. Oh sure, the odd mistake when the damper isn't opened to load up with more wood and the regular ashing out. But nothing like greying the walls and ceilings like you're describing.
        Chilliwack BC, Canada

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        • #34
          Originally posted by BCRider View Post
          Wood can be an option. But insulation is still a good first step or the stove would need to be large and fed like a firebox of an old locomotive fighting for a cross country record speed.

          Cijuanni, what sort of stove do you have? I've been around a few wood stoves over the years. More than half of them in houses. Nothing like the ash issue you're describing. A good airtight design, good attention to the flue components and they can be as clean as many other system choices. Oh sure, the odd mistake when the damper isn't opened to load up with more wood and the regular ashing out. But nothing like greying the walls and ceilings like you're describing.
          It certainly happens to a degree, at least for me. I burn for house heat, and I get significantly more dust upstairs than without burning. My wood is good and dry, and it's a well designed stove. 35Ft of stove pipe doesn't help though.

          Besides that, wood crumbles everywhere when you load it, so you always have a mess. That's fine for me in a shop, though I wish it was cleaner in the house.
          Last edited by The Metal Butcher; 02-08-2020, 01:23 PM.
          21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
          1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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          • #35
            Besides that, would crumbles everywhere when you load it, so you always have a mess. That's fine for me in a shop, though I wish it was cleaner in the house.
            Not to mention it's hard to avoid bringing in various bugs with the wood. They do love to take up residence in the wood pile. Not a heating system for the squeamish, eh?
            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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            • #36
              Only had 2 problems with wood burning here, first was only 1 dummy in the house knew how to load the stove & haul out the ash, and the second was I was that dummy.

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              • #37
                First, I would never trust that propane heater in an enclosed space. It may be good if you have to work outdoors and need a blast of heat, but beyond that you are asking for CO2 problems and possibly even death. Don't do it.

                Check list: 1. This is the HOME Shop Machinist board. So no penny-pinching boss/owner who sits in a heated office is involved. OK.

                In the past two decades I have had two home shops. One was in a trailer in Iowa and the present one is in my garage in south Texas. Both had heat in the winter and AC in the summer. That was both for my comfort and because I wanted a fairly constant temperature for both my machining equipment and my electronic stuff. Iowa shop was heated with a propane furnace that WAS VENTED to the outside. My present shop has electric heat in the AC unit.

                Insulation: Both of my shops were insulated and I did my best to seal air leaks. When I retired and started setting up my garage shop one of the first things I did was to tear the wall boards off the exterior walls and add fiberglass insulation. The cost was minimal and it took me only a few partial days of work. Every dollar you spend on insulation will come back ten fold in later savings. DO IT!

                Full time vs. intermittent? I am going to assume that you are still working and you use your home shop nights and weekends. Probably only for a couple of hours at a stretch, perhaps somewhat longer on Saturday. If you walk into a freezing cold shop and turn the heat on, it will be an hour or more before the air in the room comes up. Your heater will be running full tilt for all or most of that time. There goes half your weeknight work time. And all the machines will still be real cold. So your hands will still be gripping ice cubes. Seems to me that it is just not worth it. I run my shop heat all the time. I turn the thermostat down when I am not there and turn it up an hour or so before I plan to work. My temperatures are 68F when it is not occupied and 70 to 72F when I am working. The machines stay at a suitable temperature year round. But, that's me. You can suit yourself. In the summer I just reverse those numbers.

                In your case I would consider one or two of those oil filled, radiator style, electric heaters that places like WalMart sell. They do work and they have a thermostat control so you can regulate the heat. And they are totally SAFE: no radiant heating element that could start a fire and no CO2. I used them as back-up heat in my Iowa trailers and still have two of them that I have used in my present shop when the AC's heater was out. More than once they kept my Iowa trailers from freezing in the Iowa winters when the propane heaters broke.

                https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays...hite/681622973
                Paul A.
                SE Texas

                Make it fit.
                You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by BCRider View Post

                  Cijuanni, what sort of stove do you have?
                  An old Fisher.
                  Softwood, that is all that is around here and makes lots of light and powdery ash. Anytime you open the door the heat transferring out carries along a puff of ash. Even very carefully shoveling it out makes a mess.
                  The walls aren't black or anything, just everything gets a fine layer of 'dust'.

                  If the wood isn't seasoned well it puts a light coating of creosote on the inside of the stove, pipe, flue, door, etc. When you open the door that hot creosote smokes and burns off the door with the fresh air.

                  Probably doesn't help that I live in a canyon with odd thermal currents and inversion.
                  Typically the smoke comes out at 14ft flue then drops down to 4 to 10 ft above grade and slowly wafts down the canyon at that elevation.

                  Plus because the wood is beetle killed, under the bark is riddled with beetle paths and beetle poop which falls everywhere when you handle it.

                  Cracking the door, waiting a few minutes, opening slowly helps, but still it is messy compared to dialing a thermostat.
                  Last edited by cijuanni; 02-08-2020, 10:56 PM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Dunc View Post
                    Thanks for all the help. Looks like the first order of business is insulation.
                    If its an open ceiling start there. When I had the new shop built (post building) I had them do a ceiling kit. Its white steel siding with 1" of foil backed foam under it. Eventually it will get insulation blown in on top of that. Right now I have 1" in the ceiling and 1.5 inch of foam in the walls which will eventually be 4.5 inches of foam. Should be nice a toasty when complete.
                    Mike
                    Central Ohio, USA

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Ohio Mike View Post

                      If its an open ceiling start there. When I had the new shop built (post building) I had them do a ceiling kit. Its white steel siding with 1" of foil backed foam under it. Eventually it will get insulation blown in on top of that. Right now I have 1" in the ceiling and 1.5 inch of foam in the walls which will eventually be 4.5 inches of foam. Should be nice a toasty when complete.
                      My shop is post building also and spent extra on insulation and real pleased with it,it can get real cold at times so helps on gas bill plus nice and cool in summer.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by cijuanni View Post

                        An old Fisher.
                        Softwood, that is all that is around here and makes lots of light and powdery ash. Anytime you open the door the heat transferring out carries along a puff of ash. Even very carefully shoveling it out makes a mess.
                        The walls aren't black or anything, just everything gets a fine layer of 'dust'.

                        If the wood isn't seasoned well it puts a light coating of creosote on the inside of the stove, pipe, flue, door, etc. When you open the door that hot creosote smokes and burns off the door with the fresh air.

                        Probably doesn't help that I live in a canyon with odd thermal currents and inversion.
                        Typically the smoke comes out at 14ft flue then drops down to 4 to 10 ft above grade and slowly wafts down the canyon at that elevation.

                        Plus because the wood is beetle killed, under the bark is riddled with beetle paths and beetle poop which falls everywhere when you handle it.

                        Cracking the door, waiting a few minutes, opening slowly helps, but still it is messy compared to dialing a thermostat.
                        My sister and BiL heat their place which is out in the country exclusively with wood burned in an airtight. And what they do sounds just like your procedure. And ya, while it can be minimized there's no doubt it is dusty. It's inside their house (double wide mobile) so they take the extra care as you're saying but it's still messy during the occasional ashing out days. And because it's in the house it tends to get cleaned and vacuumed more than a shop would get. That's likely the difference between you "spring cleaning" your shop periodically and them seeming to have a clean place all the time in spite of the stove burning all winter.
                        Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                        • #42
                          I agree insulate. I always use fiberglass rolls, except for blown in cellulose it's the cheapest for the R value. Cover with OSB halfway up then drywall. Use plywood/OSB instead of drywall where you want shelves or cabinets.

                          For a few years I used a propane RV furnace (small forced air w/thermostat) I took out of a wrecked camper trailer in a 12x16 shop. It would keep the shop comfortably warm for a month using 3 20lb tanks. (turned down at night and off when I wasn't planning to go in for a while) The shop was well insulated. I've always lived in the boonies, so natural gas was never an option.
                          You can often find low cost used furnaces at heating/ac shops from people who want to upgrade or built additions and needed a larger furnace.

                          I'd stay away from any non vented heaters, they toss out too much moisture.

                          One trick I've used a lot is to mount heat lamps over my work areas, it keeps the hands and tools warm when assembling things. Another is when you feel chilled in the shop, take a 10 minute walk outside, when you come back in it will feel toasty.

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                          • #43
                            I always enjoy these threads. I'll just toss in Propane is a wonderfuel that produces heat, Co2 and water as product of combustion. No need to discuss the het part. Co2 + water does combine to become Carbonic Acid though, and that should be a consideration. Remember how yummy the breathing air was in a contained area with propane forklifts running around and minimal air exchanges? What do you think Carbonic Acid does to iron???

                            I think I'll also mention the 10 ton elephant in the equation. All that iron either remains happy at a constant temperature or changes dimensions as it heats & cools. Lets not forget that big hunk of concrete that could with minor modification become a positive in the situation as a thermal battery rather than the huge heatsink it currently is.

                            Electric heat is still an option, IF you can afford it, and it remains available in your area. This area has already reached the point of shortage that requires Sewer Ontario to be maintained above 1950 flood level so it can run water thru turbines to supply welfare AC machines. Windmills ain't cutting the mustard and Solar voltaic fields are being planted fast as they can be. Good thing we got very few industrial electron consumers.

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                            • #44
                              ….Lets not forget that big hunk of concrete....
                              Yep, there's no doubt that the floor becomes an actual heat source when the outside temperature is below freezing. My previous shop was insulated and only heated for an hour or two before I went out for the day and while I was in the shop. But at no time did the water by the grinder ever freeze. The ground warmth combined with half way decent wall and ceiling insulation did the trick. It was also nice in the summer when the coolness of the floor made the shop a little cooler than the outside.

                              All of the last few posts from us all are pointing to the same thing. Namely that your best bang for the buck is to start with insulation. You mentioned that is what you'd start with a few posts back. And you won't regret doing that.

                              While you are at it look at how you will use the shop. In my case I only turn on the heat an hour before I start working. But my metal shop is an attached garage. So between the insulation and ground warmth and the little heat that leaks out through the common wall it's sort of half way warm to start with. And the electric 4800W blue cube of a thing is more than enough to get things nice and cozy in my 570 sq ft shop. Even on the coldest of days I've figured out roughly that the cost for power is right around a buck and a half or at worst a couple of bucks to heat the shop for the day. And I don't leave it on overnight. Although if I was going to do a consistent two or three day effort I might turn it down to something minimal overnight in such a case.

                              A buddy with a detached shop has the slightly higher output 6000W version. He does leave it running on minimal power and uses a ceiling fan in the tall ceiling shop to keep the condensation issue at bay. His shop power use is something like $50 to $60 a month over the house bill for the low standby temperature plus turning things up when he's in his shop.
                              Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                              • #45
                                Haven't read the whole thread but one thing I learned about sizing a heater; don't do it based on square/cubic feet alone!
                                My garage is well insulated, 8400 cubic feet and is only my welding shop as the machines are in the basement but, with the wife's car in there and
                                saws, grinders, etc. it's a LOT of metal to heat up.
                                I have a 30k btu Hot Dawg and, while it does the job, could have easily gone larger. 45k-50k btu at least.
                                Len

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